All About Hygge and 10 Ways to Incorporate It In Your Home
What is Hygge?
It’s likely you have heard of “hygge”, and you may have wondered what it means or how to even pronounce it. Hygge is a Danish word and concept that cannot be translated into just one English word. Instead, it encompasses a feeling of coziness, contentment and well-being experienced while enjoying the simple things in life.
Pronounced “hoo-gah”, hygge has been an integral part of Danish culture for decades, and is just now making its way on the American radar. Denmark has long been included amongst the happiest countries in the world, and some argue that the country’s obsession with embracing all things cozy has something to do with their collective well-being. So it’s no surprise that America and the rest of the world are taking notes, trying to incorporate hygge into their homes and lifestyle.
Below are just a handful of simple ways you can bring hygge into your home to promote coziness, simplicity, relaxation, and an overall sense of well-being.
1. Create a Cozy Nook
Find a cozy space perfect for reading the newspaper with a cup of coffee in the morning or unwinding with a book and a cup of tea at night. The best nooks are situated along a large window, letting in natural light and providing views of surrounding scenery. However, your nook might instead be in a quiet corner with a lamp or fireplace nearby. Make sure the seating in your nook is comfortable — such as an overstuffed armchair or loveseat.
2. Add Soft Textures
Texture is an important element of hygge. Steer towards soft and comfortable textures that come in natural colors that are calming to the eye. Fluffy rugs, chunky knit blankets, and faux fur pillows are perfect examples of hygge-worthy items. Surrounding your living space with subtle inviting textures creates a welcoming and comfortable environment for you and your guests.
3. Light a Wood-Burning Fireplace
A wood-burning fireplace is quintessential to the idea of hygge. The soft glow and reassuring crackling sounds you experience around a fire foster a sense of serenity, warmth, and joy. A gas fireplace will still create a peaceful glow and sense of warmth, but there is nothing quite like a real wood-burning fireplace. Plus, stacks of wood positioned near the fireplace will bring natural elements indoors.
4. Light Candles
Lighting candles is considered one of the most important elements of the hygge concept. Candles emit a pleasant scent, peaceful ambiance, and a dim flickering glow that embodies the idea of hygge to the core. Light a candle — or three! — and curl up with a book and a cup of tea, and you’ll soon realize the power of this small (and inexpensive) addition.
5. Add Wood Furniture
Hygge is all about natural elements, so it’s important to avoid plastic and overtly “store-bought” pieces if you’re trying to achieve a hygge atmosphere in your home. Instead, steer towards the natural look of wooden furniture and accent pieces. We especially love the organic, raw look of wood that hasn’t been treated or stained. Wood is a warm and inviting material, reminiscent of a cozy log cabin in the dead of winter.
6. Incorporate Leather Details
Similarly, leather is a popular material amongst hygge enthusiasts. It is usually warm to the touch, comes in neutral colors like tan, brown and black, and creates an organic feel in any space. Consider adding a leather pillow, footstool, magazine holder, or even a couch. While leather can be cold to the touch, the addition of warm elements and details around it will compensate for its cooler temperature.
7. Keep It Simple
You may be familiar with the KonMari method, introduced by organizing consultant Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” This extreme approach to organizing urges participants to get rid of anything and everything that doesn’t bring them joy. It’s a radical form of minimalism that has many similarities with the concept of hygge. Keep your mind free of clutter by removing excess clutter in your home, to create a calm and serene space holding just the essentials. This practice also makes your home easier to maintain, allowing you to spend more time relaxing, and doing things you enjoy, such as reading, knitting, or spending time with loved ones.
8. Accessorize Wisely
Along those lines, it’s important to accessorize with intention. It’s tempting to throw a bunch of fluffy pillows on the couch, light a dozen candles, and call it a day. However, the pieces you bring into your space should be important and meaningful to you — such as a homemade knit blanket, a high-quality rug, some candles found at a local boutique, or a piece of art you truly admire. It’s more about quality than quantity with hygge.
9. Be Indirect With Lighting
Much like with any trend or style, lighting plays a vital role in creating hygge in your home. Soft, warm lighting, like a fireplace, candles, natural sunlight, and dimmed light bulbs, is ideal. However, if you’re looking to create a cozy nighttime nook, make sure your lamp lighting is indirect. This creates a warm atmosphere, but also provides plenty of light to read by.
10. Invest In a Sound System
Music is also important for hygge, as it creates a lively yet relaxing ambiance (as long as you choose the right genre). Make sure your favorite album can be heard by investing in a sound system. However, technology with all of its cords and plastic is not very hygge. You might instead consider getting a Bluetooth speaker like a Bose Mini SoundLink, that will sync up with your devices (or even your Amazon Echo Dot!) and is easy to hide from sight.
Other Important Hygge Reminders:
Turn Off Screens
Unplugging from technology, like your phone, computer, and TV, is one of the best ways to fully experience hygge. Instead, curl up with a good book, engage in conversation, pick up an old hobby, or simply doze off by the fire.
Hygge is typically associated with the colder months of fall and winter, but that doesn’t mean you must stay inside until the temperature rises. Bundle up and go on a walk through the neighborhood, then warm up indoors with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. And hygge isn’t just reserved for winter, as a summertime picnic at the park with friends is equally hygge.
Stay in Bed
Looking for an excuse to push snooze and stay in bed? Hygge is your answer. Linger in bed a little longer with a Sunday nap, breakfast in bed, or reading a novel. Create a bedroom that encourages this behavior with blankets, pillows, and lots of natural light.
Enjoy a Hot Drink
It has been mentioned a few times, but it’s worth highlighting once more. Enjoying a hot, comforting drink is an important practice with hygge, as it has a tendency to warm and sooth your body, spirit and mind. Tea drinkers, coffee addicts, and hot chocolate lovers rejoice!
Get Together with Friends and Family
One of the more important elements of hygge is getting together with friends, family and loved ones in an intimate environment. A relaxed, informal gathering with hearty food, indulgent treats, and good wine is what hygge is all about. Converse, share, laugh, and experience life to the fullest with the ones you love.
Category Home Inspiration
Cathy Harrington is Lyon Real Estate’s director of marketing, overseeing the content on the Lyon Local blog, website and social media channels.